- Created: Friday, 28 October 2011 14:26
- Written by Trevor Rayne
The Royal Air Force bombing of Syria on 3 December 2015 is the 50th separate British military intervention in the Middle East and North Africa since the end of the Second World War. This region contains approximately half of the world’s proven oil reserves; control over these reserves and the distribution of oil is essential for the British ruling class and for the balance of power between the competing imperialist states.
Five of the world’s top ten oil producing countries are in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait. Additionally, among the top 20 producers are Algeria, Libya and Qatar. The US is the world’s biggest oil consumer followed by China, Japan and India. Control over the distribution of oil is critical for controlling the emergence of powers to rival the US, Britain and Europe.
As well as bombing Syria the RAF is bombing Iraq. The RAF was founded in 1918 and began bombing Iraq in 1919. It is now in to the tenth decade of its existence and has bombed Iraq in seven of those ten decades.
Five current Arab heads of state trained at the British Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst; they are those of Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
British military interventions since 1945
1. 1945-48 Palestine Reinforce the British occupation army until the end of the mandate.
2. 1946 Iran Counter Soviet influence and Kurdish and Azerbaijani republics.
3. 1947 Aden Suppression of civil disturbances.
4. 1948-49 Somalia Prevent reunification of the country and maintain protectorate.
5. 1948-51 Eritrea Suppression of the Shifta revolt.
6. 1951 Iran Aqaba Iranian oil nationalistion.
7. 1951-54 Suez Canal Zone.
8. 1954–83 Cyprus Suppression of EOKA and occupation.
9. 1954 Egypt Intervention on the Nile.
10. 1955 Buraimi Oasis Preventing incursion from Saudi Arabia and its allies.
11. 1955-60 Yemen border incidents.
12. 1956 Bahrain Suppression of riots.
13. 1956 Egypt Suez crisis and invasion.
14. 1957-59 Muscat and Oman Suppression of resistance struggle.
15. 1958 Iraq Military coup ousts King Faisal II.
16. 1958 Jordan Military assistance to regime following Iraq coup.
17. 1958 Kuwait Iraqi General Qasim claims Kuwait is part of Iraq.
18. 1958 Lebanon Attempt to bolster Pro-western Christian government.
19. 1961 Kuwait Prevention of Iraqi incursion.
20. 1962-70 Yemen Civil war Britain sided with Royalists. 200,000 Yemenis killed.
21. 1963-67 Aden Attempted suppression of socialist-led national liberation struggle.
22. 1964 Yemen Radfan campaign against socialist-led revolutionaries.
23. 1966 Das Island Abu Dhabi oil dispute.
24. 1967 Libya Guarding oil installations and preventing coup against King Idris.
25. 1970 Jordan ‘Black September’ Operation Shoveller to protect King Hussein against an uprising in support of the Palestinians under attack from Jordanian troops. This was a critical intervention shaping the Middle East henceforward.
26. 1971-76 Dhofar (Oman) Suppression of socialist-led revolt.
27. 1973 Egypt RAF moves UN troops after Yom Kippur war.
28. 1974 Malta Defence of British bases during anti-crown disturbances. Premier Dom Mintoff declares Malta a republic and negotiates end of bases by 1979.
29. 1974 Kuwait.
30. 1974 Cyprus Operation Ablant evacuation of British nationals after Turkey invades.
31. 1977 Somalia British Special Forces support their West German counterparts at Mogadishu airport after the Red Army Faction hijack a Boeing 737.
32. 1978 Lebanon Supporting UN force; transporting Fijian troops via Tel Aviv en route to Lebanon.
33. 1979 Iran Revolution Evacuation of westerners.
34. 1982 Egypt Part of UN force stationed in Sinai.
35. 1983 Lebanon stationed in Beirut.
36. 1983 Aden/Yemen Evacuation of British nationals.
37. 1986 Gibraltar Reinforcement of air defences after US bombed Libya.
38. 1986 Cyprus Reinforcement of Akrotiri base after US bombed Libya.
39. 1987-88 Dubai Persian Gulf minesweeping by Royal Navy and RAF.
40. 1991 Iraq Gulf War I.
41. 1991-2003 Iraq RAF bombing raids and enforcement of no-fly zones.
42. 1994 Yemen Evacuation of embassy.
43. 1994 Kuwait Operation Driver to reinforce British garrison and warn Iraqi regime against invasion.
44. 2003-11 Iraq War.
45. 2011 Libya to evacuate British nationals.
46. 2011 Libya Enforcing UN no-fly zone and removal of Libyan government
47. 2012 Jordan Support and training for forces opposed to Syrian government.
48. 2013 Mali Support for French occupation force.
49. 2014 onwards Iraq RAF part of anti-Islamic State operations.
50. 2015 onwards Syria RAF part of anti-Islamic State operations.